A machine that can sense and react to input and cause changes in its surroundings with some degree of intelligence, ideally without human supervision. Although robots are often designed to mimic human movements in carrying out their work, they are seldom humanlike in appearance. Robots are commonly used in manufacturing products such as automobiles and computers. See also robotics.
Any computer-controlled machine that can be programmed to move or carry out work. Robots are often used in industry to transport materials or to perform repetitive tasks. For instance, robotic arms, fixed to a floor or workbench, may be used to paint machine parts or assemble electronic circuits. Other robots are designed to work in situations that would be dangerous to humans—for example, in defusing bombs or in space and deep-sea exploration.
Some robots are equipped with sensors, such as touch sensors and video cameras, and can make be programmed to make simple decisions based on the sensory data received.
Records of mechanical people and animals of all sizes go back more than 2,000 years. However, it was only with the incorporation of the computer that the true robot could be built.
A robot that plays guitar, and a cello, violin, and recorder robot ensemble, were marketed by a Japanese company 1989.
See bot, spider.